The Late, Lamented, James Butler Hickok, had such an outstanding co-ordination of hand and eye, he seldom had to cock his pistol for a second shot, as the people he shot AT, were usually dead before their body hit the ground. Maybe(?) he had little things that he would do to his guns, in order to avoid the IRRITATING and ANNOYING characteristics of the poor Colt Design! Even with the original Colt Navy I had for a short while, (Made from the parts of three original Navy Colts!) STILL had the habit of dropping spent caps into the guts of the pistol, requiring extrication with the aid of a Dental Tool. Alas, history does not record whether Mr. Hickok carried a dental tool in is vest pocket!
The,"Thriced Accursed 1860 Army Replica I owned in England, tossed spent caps with infuriating regularity, into the yawning chasm that was revealed whenever the hammer was cocked. I NEVER ONCE got off six consequitive shots from that 1860!. Except for those rare occasions when I religiously pointed the Bloody Thing vertically downward at Terra Firma, and very slowly E-A-S-E-D the hammer very S-L-O-W-L-E-Y back, and blew the cap out of harms way! However having to do all this, made me feel such an idiot, that I'd think to myself, "This is no way to shoot a combat revolver, even if the design IS 100 Years Old!!!" Sure enough, a couple of rounds later, it was,"Dental Tool Time Again!"
When the nice young man I met at the Gun Club, graciously allowed me to shoot his new Remington Repro, it was the very first time I EVER got off Six Shots from such a weapon, WITHOUT having to clear a jam! When that guy bought the 1860, I was SO GLAD TO SEE THE BACK OF THE BLOODY THING, I stifled the feelings of guilt that swelled within me, at passing of such a piece of JUNK, to an unsuspecting Fellow Human Being! My friend Roy Liddiard, had a few original colts, one of which was an almost Mint Conditioned London Navy! He told me that when he got it, it looked as if it had never been fired. Of course, Roy soon altered THAT State of Affairs! The London Navy was very accurate,but Roy did not shoot it very much. He'd fire six rounds off each time we visited Bisley, then take it home, clean and reload it, and put it aside until the next outing to Bisley. It always fired all six rounds without any problem. I asked Roy how he managed this, and he grinned, and told me that after he had boiled the cylinder, (Which is where I got the habit from.) he'd reload it, and then taking a fine artists brush, he'd VERY Carefully paint the outside of the nipples with shellac. then gently ease the caps onto the nipples, As the shellac hardened, it sealed the caps onto the nipples, so no contamination could reach the charge! The remains of the caps stayed on the nipples, so this solved his jamming problem also! Maybe, this was how General Lee's Colt Navy was loaded? It had supposedly been loaded for about seven years, when it was taken to a shooting range, and shot. Apparently
All six rounds went off instantly, when the hammer fell on each cap. So whoever loaded that revolver for General Lee, did an outstanding Job! General Lee is STILL regarded at America's best loved General, of all time, so the aide who prepared that pistol for action, obviously wanted to be sure, that in the unlikely event of, "Marse Robert," getting in a "Tight Place," the General's revolver would NOT let him down!
At his Funeral, many old Confederate veterans travelled many miles to attend. One elderly man was obviously not in too good a shape, and a resident of the town took pity on him, and offered him a room in his house to sleep in that night. The old Veteran thanked him for is offer, but said, "I have laid out many a cold night with Marse Robert, and one more will not do me too much harm!" He inspired great loyalty in all who served under him, and even in the 1980's, when I lived in Arkansas, it was not at all unusual to enter someone's home, and find a portrait of General Lee, on the living room wall! As a Confederate at heart, it pleased me to find that in so many peoples minds, the Confederacy still Lives On! Arkansan's are very aware of their History. The "Stars & Bars," is very evident in a high percentage of Pick-Up Truck back windows, and in the place where a front Licence plate would be in England, (Where the vehicle number has to be shown back & Front>) An Old Confderate Vetern, still clutches his sabre, and says, "Fergit Hell!"
I feel sad about that War! I feel that the World has seldom seen fighting men of the caliber of the Army of Norther Virginia, or the Army of the Tennersee! When the War began the Confederacy were outnumbered five to one! By the time it ended, they were outnumbered TEN to one! And it STILL took the Yankee's four years to beat 'em! The Confederacy seemed to have all of the strong,"Characters!" None of the Union Generals seemed to be able to do anything Spectacular. You do not see articles in magazines written about Union Cavalry Generals,! But even in England, there were magazines that were devoted to tales of the War of Northern Aggression, and plenty of articles writen about Wade Hampton,Jeb (Beauty.) Stuart, and, "The Wizard of the Saddle," Nathan Bedford Forest. I watched the movie,"Gettysburg," again the other night, and thought, not for the first time, how tragic a loss to the Confederacy, was the death, a few months earlier of General Thomas, "Stonewall" Jackson. Had Lee had Jackson with him at Gettysburg, Jackson would not have faltered in uncertainty about the taking of the Round Tops!! He'd have had his "Foot Cavalry occupy them, set up artillery, and then on the last day, would have gone around the Round Tops to the south and east, then turned west and caught the Yankees with their pants down from the rear. Then when Picket's Division charged, they would not have been so cut to pieces! General George Pickett's men were the very flower of Northern Virginia. The marched into the very Maw of Hell, across more than a mile of open fields an orchards! It was almost a suicide mission, and proved to be one! I still do not understand how a man who was such a fine General as Lee, could have ordered that charge, right into the teeth of superior Numbers and a vastly superior number of Artillery! Those poor Southern Boys were sitting Ducks. For about a mile and a half! "Oh Well!"